The Cherokees and Christianity, 1794–1870
Essays on Acculturation and Cultural Persistence

William G. McLoughlin
Edited by Walter H. Conser Jr.


"This excellent collection of essays . . . [is] a major contribution to the study of Native American history and religious studies."
Kirkus Reviews

"This collection provides a balanced, holistic perspective on the impact of religion on human behavior. It supplies all background material needed to understand the topics discussed, and although well documented, it is also well written and does not overwhelm the reader with historical detail. Highly recommended to historians, anthropologists, and interested general readers."

"McLoughlin has created an outstanding example of methodological and theoretical analysis of one of the most turbulent periods of Cherokee history. McLoughlin's ability to work with primary sources coupled with his extensive knowledge of the early-nineteenth-century Cherokee struggle for survival . . . reveals many crucial issues relevant to the study of other southeastern tribes."
Journal of Southern History

"For the reader unacquainted with McLoughlin's larger works, the book is an ideal place to begin. And it will once again remind scholars of the important place that McLoughlin established for himself in his two decades of concentrated study of the Cherokees."
Catholic Historical Review

"An extraordinarily nuanced and sensitive assessment of the process of acculturation among the Cherokees . . . Throughout this collection of essays, McLoughlin illustrates the unique results of a lifetime's work in both antebellum Protestantism and Cherokee history."
Journal of Appalachian Studies

"For those who believe that human affairs are easy to comprehend or that history conforms to ideological dictates, The Cherokees and Christianity will make their heads swim. . . . McLoughlin describes both missions and tribes as all-too-human institutions, as being exceptionally complex and multifaceted, and as subject to culture, individual psychology, religious faith, chance, and above all, political power."
Church History

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In The Cherokees and Christianity, William G. McLoughlin examines how the process of religious acculturation worked within the Cherokee Nation during the nineteenth century. More concerned with Cherokee "Christianization" than Cherokee "civilization," these eleven essays cover the various stages of cultural confrontation with Christian imperialism.

The first section of the book explores the reactions of the Cherokee to the inevitable clash between Christian missionaries and their own religious leaders, as well as their many and varied responses to slavery. In part two, McLoughlin explores the crucial problem of racism that divided the southern part of North America into red, white and black long before 1776 and considers the ways in which the Cherokees either adapted Christianity to their own needs or rejected it as inimical to their identity.

Page count: 368 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $22.95

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William G. McLoughlin was Willard Prescott and Annie McClelland Smith Professor Emeritus of History and Religion, Professor Emeritus of History, and Chancellor's Fellow at Brown University. He was the author of several books on Cherokee history, including After the Trail of Tears: The Cherokee's Struggle for Sovereignty, 1839-1880. Walter H. Conser Jr., is professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He is the author of God and the Natural World: Religion and Science in Antebellum America.